Oh, by gosh, by golly it’s time for mistletoe and hol… iday movies!
We are less than 12 weeks away from the most wonderful time of the year and if you’re anything like me, Christmas Carols have already started spreading through your recently played iTunes playlist.
Even in October, there’s a particular smell in the air that indicates the holiday season is coming. It’s a strange comforting warmth that puts me into a tinsel tizzy.
While I was very quickly (and rudely) shut down when I asked if we could put up the Christmas tree the other day, and again when I suggested we at least pop the wreath on the front door, it suddenly hit me that there was one way I could get my festive on…
Christmas movies! I secretly watch them all year round because, why not? They’re joyous and the holiday spirit is very infectious especially once you’ve watched my personal favourite, The Holiday.
So in the official countdown to ‘Love Actually season’, here are my top 8 OG Christmas Rom Com films that are essential to get you in the festive spirit!
8. Four Holidays (2008)
An interesting yet oddly relatable tale about a couple (both with divorced parents) who have to make 4 stops on Christmas Day to ensure they spend time with all sets of parents and their new families. Reece Witherspoon & Vince Vaughn star in this funny-ish but annoyingly heart-warming movie about, love, life & family.
7. The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Whitney Houston… I mean, that is all. Basically any holiday film from the 90’s is an instant classic and testament to what we know and love about the holidays. The Preacher’s Wife stars Whitney Houston (in her prime) & Denzel Washington and tells the story of a Preacher & his wife who are visited by an angel (Washington). This feel good gospel enthused 120-minuter is a sure pick this Christmas.
6. Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
There is just something so incredibly homely about watching Meet Me In St. Louis during the Christmas season. Arguably one of Judy Garland’s best works, this film is a true classic romantic musical comedy. Set on the cusp of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the film focuses on four sisters’ education in the ways of the world, learning to navigate life and love. The film’s overarching message is love really does conquer all.
5. This Christmas (2007)
“And this Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me” (cue early Chris Brown melodic vocal run). Starring Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Regina King & Chris Brown (pre Rihanna, obvi) this feel good family movie makes us all think our families are relatively normal in comparison to the Whitfield’s. Ma’Dere (Devine) assembles her large family for their first reunion in four years. Of course family ties show signs of strain when various secrets come to light. This Christmas also sports a brilliant R&B Christmas soundtrack.
4. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
Go to the bathroom before viewing because it’s seriously that funny and also, have tissues nearby because it’s seriously that moving. The Best Man Holiday is a sequel to the 1999 smash The Best Man starring Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Terrance Howard and Regina Hall. It would make more sense if you watch The Best Man first as The Best Man Holiday is a sequel set 15 years later and surrounds all the original cast getting together for the first time since the events at the end of the first film. Though much has changed in their lives, the friends discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and passionate romances to be reignited.
3. The Family Stone (2006)
What can I say, anything with Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney & Sarah Jessica Parker is the epitome of perfection. This Rom-Com/Drama can easily be viewed all year round but the film is definitely set at Christmastime so it feels right to watch any date from… now. Everett (Mulroney) brings his girlfriend, Meredith (Parker) to meet his bohemian Connecticut family at Christmas. Strait-laced Meredith, feeling she needs backup, asks her sister Julie (Claire Danes) to come along. Hoping to win the approval of her boyfriend’s parents Sybil (Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T. Nelson), instead Meredith succeeds only in highlighting her uptight personality and making Everett doubt his intentions.
2. Love Actually
I mean, love actually is all around, right? A lot of people question my order for these final two top spots. In all honestly both are equally as brilliant as one another, so let’s call it a tie. This film really doesn’t need a synopsis because if you haven’t seen it, have you lived? I kid, it follows 9 intertwined stories examining the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all…love… and it’s set 6 weeks out from Christmas. The all-star cast and I mean ALL-STAR cast really helps add to the film’s appeal.
1. The Holiday
Sorry, having a moment. I literally tear up every time someone mentions this film. It is pure Rom-Com gold and it truly is the definition of a feel-good movie. Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law & Jack Black are phenomenal in this festive delight. Rom-Com alum, Nancy Meyers directs this masterpiece with the perfect amount of Christmas fairy dust sprinkled in. Basically The Holiday is about English rose Iris (Winslet) agreeing to swap homes with similarly unlucky in love Californian Amanda (Diaz) for a much-needed break over the Christmas holiday. Both ladies bump into local lads, perfect for a romantic pick-me-up.
Honourable mentions include films that feature a festive storyline/plot point but aren’t necessarily a “Rom-Com” (and also because they’re in my top 20, obvi).
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Just Friends (2005)
Sex and the City (2008)
Mean Girls (2004)
The Santa Clause (1992)
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Home Alone (1990)